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January 2021 Newsletter

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In this Issue

Welcome from the Chair

Russell Stewart - Chair

Dear Northern Inlanders,

Happy new year and welcome to our first newsletter for 2021!

I was humbled to receive confirmation of my reappointment as Chair of RDANI to June 2025. With this reappointment, I am one of the longest serving RDA Chairs in the country, a true testament to the positive outcomes that RDA-NI are achieving for the Northern Inland. I am looking forward to continuing to work closely with all the communities in our region, for together we can help our region prosper.

The dedication of our Committee Member Les Parsons to help Inverell and our region for over forty years has also been recognised this week. As part of the Australia Day celebrations, Les was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to the community of Inverell, and to local government. I would like to extend my congratulations and appreciation to Les and the other well-deserving recipients in the region.

This year is going by quickly already, and before we know it, applications for the Building Better Regions Fund will be due. This is a key source of community and infrastructure project funding for regional areas, so I encourage anyone who is thinking about applying to get in touch with our team to find out how we can help.


Russell Stewart

Continuity of Our Chair Announced by Australian Government

In recognition of strong performance, the Australian Government’s Assistant Minister for Regional Development, the Hon. Nola Marino has gifted us with continuity of our Chair. “I am pleased to announce the reappointment of Mr. Russell Stewart as Chair of RDA Northern Inland until 30 June 2025,” Minister Marino said.

“Russell has provided strong leadership for RDA Northern Inland during his time as Chair, having successfully steered the committee through the challenges of 2020 and, along with the members and staff, provided great support for the region’s business community and future economic development,” she said. “I look forward to working with Russell and the RDA Northern Inland members and staff over the coming years and encourage the community to reach out to their RDA to discuss how it can help communities and businesses succeed.”

This is the second time Russell has been reappointed as Chair of RDA Northern Inland, having first taken the role on in 2015. The reappointment puts him on track to be one of the longest currently serving RDA Chairs in Australia, a role that the Government initially intended to be regularly refreshed. “This is really an endorsement of our RDA’s performance,” Mr. Stewart said. “We have such a great track record that we regularly provide advice to other regions, as well as the Government. Continuity is a big win for the organisation and our region,” he said.

“RDA Northern Inland has helped develop successful funding applications, business cases, cost-benefit analysis and regional data for Local Government, not-for-profits and businesses across our region. In just three years, we helped to attract over $50 million in funding to this region, towards projects totalling over $70 million, but worth so much more to our economic and social wellbeing. Over the past 12 months those figures have increased substantially.”

“To recover from the triple whammy of unprecedented drought, bushfires and Covid-19 pandemic and to strive for sustainable growth, our region’s employers need skilled staff. Helping to address skill shortages through skilled migration is a vital role of RDA Northern Inland. We have brought hundreds of skilled visa recipients to our region in recent years. Our expertise and follow-up support is nationally recognised.” Mr. Stewart said.

RDA Northern Inland Executive Director Nathan Axelsson said he and his Armidale-based team are grateful for the leadership and support provided by their governing Committee. “Russell leads a volunteer committee that is representative of our region. They come together from the Liverpool Plains to Tenterfield and across to Mungindi to serve as champions of the region and its economic development. Through the holistic, big-picture vision of our Chair, his team and the Federal Government, our six-member workforce kept working hard throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,” Mr. Axelsson said. “Russell is a very proud Narrabri local but he is also a passionate advocate for Northern Inland. Nobody takes on a regional approach better,” he said.

OAM Accolades to RDANI Committee Member Les Parsons

Long serving RDANI Committee member, Les Parsons, was recognised for his service to the community of Inverell, and to local government as part of the Australia Day celebrations this year.

Les has been on the RDANI Committee since our commencement in 2009, as well as preceding Northern Inland Regional Development Board. During that time, he has made an important contribution to committee discussions and to the development of projects to support the growth of our region. Due to his wealth of experience and knowledge, his insight has proved invaluable to the region.

For over forty years Les has volunteered his time to help Inverell and our region. He has served in a range of roles, including as a committee member and chair for organisations such as the NSW Council of Tourist Associations and Tourism New England and New England North West Tourism Marketing Committee. As a business owner in Inverell, Les has also chaired the Inverell Regional Business Enterprise and the Inverell Enterprise Resource Investment Centre.

Our heartfelt thanks and appreciation go out to Les for his contribution to our region in the past and into the future.

491 Visa Nomination Application Details Now Available

We are pleased to advise that the process for NSW Government nominations for the 491 Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) Visa are currently being finalised. Applications for sponsorship from the Northern Inland region are expected to open in early-to-mid February.

To help applicants determine their eligibility and begin preparations, we have updated our website with the information that is currently available, including:

Please note that this information is being provided to assist applicants to prepare. We cannot accept any applications at this stage, and no exceptions can be made.

It is recommended that applicants monitor our new 491 Skilled Work Regional Visa Nomination Application page regularly as this will be updated as soon as further information becomes available.

Building Better Regions Fund Now Open!

Applications are now open for local communities across regional Australia for the fifth round of the successful Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).

This round will see $100 million of dedicated support for tourism-related infrastructure, while maintaining $100 million for broader community infrastructure and investment.

The fund runs two streams to cover a wide range of projects:

Community Stream - for new or expanded local events, strategic regional plans, or leadership and capability strengthening activities that provide economic and social benefits to regional and remote areas.

Infrastructure Stream - for projects that provide economic and social benefits to regional and remote areas. The projects can be either construction of new infrastructure or the upgrade or extension of existing infrastructure.

For most projects grant funding will be up to either 50% or 75% of your eligible project costs, with a funding cap of $10M for the infrastructure stream and $1M for the community stream.

Applications are now open and close on the 5th of March 2021. Successful applicants are expected to be announced in mid-2021. Anyone who would like assistance with their application, can contact our office to find out how we can help on 02 6771 0700 or by email at rdani@rdani.org.au.

New Freight Data Sharing to Drive the Future

The Australian Government, in cooperation with iMOVE and with the support of selected industry partners, has conducted a new study involving freight data sharing trials.  This initial round of Freight Data Exchange pilot projects has demonstrated the potential for real-time data sharing to improve the efficiency of supply chains. The data can also be used to inform government decisions by providing deeper insight into needed infrastructure and policies.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the study will lead to improvements in getting goods to customers by improving access to real-time supply chain freight data. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted more than ever the critical importance of our freight supply chains and all those involved,” the Deputy Prime Minister said. “The study provides insights for governments and industry for infrastructure planning and delivery. It shows how increasing digitisation can improve visibility of freight for supply chain partners to decrease unexpected delivery disruptions.”

Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said the report could open the door to improved productivity and efficiency for the freight industry. “The report noted sharing real-time freight data would mean our supply chain operators could respond to delays and errors quickly, which will help our truckies do their crucial job getting goods to businesses and consumers,” Assistant Minister Buchholz said. “We want to ensure our freight is moving efficiently across the country, getting to our doors as smoothly as possible.”

iMOVE Managing Director Ian Christensen called on industry to take bolder steps to embrace data and increase information sharing along supply chains or risk being out-competed by overseas operators who are already reaping the efficiency benefits. “Freight operations overseas are working vigorously to reduce ‘transactional friction’ along supply chains,” Mr Christensen said. “Australian businesses need to catch up and recognise the importance of sharing data to maintain the competitiveness of local supply chains.”

More information on the Freight Data Exchange Pilot Projects, including a copy of the Summary Report, Data Aggregation Pilot Project Report and Models, Scenarios, Messages and Data Sets are now available on the BITRE website.

Featured Grants and Funding Opportunities

Below are some featured grants and funding opportunities from the multitude of open grants listed in the Grants and Funding Opportunities area of our website. Our website is updated weekly with new listings and updates and all are applicable to our region, so it is a great resource if you are looking for funding for a specific project.

You can also sign up to our Business and Infrastructure Funding Opportunities and the Community Grants and Award Programs newsletters through the simple form located on the left-hand side of our website: www.rdani.org.au, to receive monthly summaries of currently open grants.


Regional Sport Facility Fund
Closes: 26th of February 2021 - 5:00 pm
Value: $100,000 to $1 Million
Run By: NSW Government Office of Sport

This fund will assist eligible organisations to develop quality core sport infrastructure that will meet the current and future needs of the community.

The Fund will support the development of well-designed and utilised new and improved sport infrastructure projects that can directly impact and support participation and performance opportunities in sports at all levels.

The Fund will focus on sporting facilities that deliver the best outcomes for the community. It will ensure that the best possible value for money is achieved.

The key objectives of the Fund are to:

  • increase the number and type of sporting facilities;
  • improve the standard of existing sporting facilities;
  • increase participation in sport.

A total pool of $25M has been allocated for this first round.


Community Child Care Fund - Open Competitive Round
Closes: 22nd of February 2021 - 11:00 am
Value: $2,000 to $200,000
Run By: Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment

The objective of this grant opportunity is to support the longer-term sustainability of eligible ECEC services operating in, or servicing, disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, particularly those in regional, rural and remote areas.
This grant opportunity will provide funding under three categories, called program ‘elements’. Each element intends to fund a specific type of activity. The elements are (in order of grant funding priority):

  • Sustainability Support ($2,000 to $200,000) - helping eligible child care services operating in areas of limited supply improve the viability and sustainability of their service.
  • Community Support ($5,000 to $100,000) - helping eligible child care services to work with other organisations and families to identify and address community level barriers to child care participation. The engagement must ultimately result in increased child care participation.
  • Capital Support ($50,000 to $150,000) - helping eligible child care services by contributing towards the cost of modifying, renovating, extending or building child care facilities (‘capital works’). These capital works must result in more child care places in areas where there is unmet demand.

You may apply for one or more element per service, however only one application per element per service is allowed. There is a separate application form for each element.


Driver Reviver Site Upgrade Program
Closes: 25th of February 2021 - 11:30 pm
Value: $10,000 to $150,000
Run By: Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

Driver Reviver sites provide drivers and their passengers with a place where they can stop safely, particularly on long trips and during peak holiday periods.

The purpose of the Driver Reviver Site Upgrades – Round Two grant opportunity is to provide funding for site upgrades to all Driver Reviver locations and the establishment of new sites within the Driver Reviver network. The key outcome is improved awareness and usage of Driver Reviver sites for drivers.

This round will provide grants to site owners for signage and amenities, basic infrastructure upgrades to existing sites, establishment of new sites and potential rebuilds of sites that have been affected by bushfires.

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